Book and lyrics by David John. Music by Kevin Lynch. Musical arrangements by Richard Marrett.
Cast: 4m., 3w. (5 children, 24+ ensemble.) In 1862 the goldfields of New Zealand were a savage and unforgiving environment, especially for immigrants. When Duncan and Sarah McKenzie arrive in the "new country," Jackie O'Fea brings news of the gold strikes. Leaving his family for the diggings with a promise to return, Duncan seizes his chance for freedom from the near-slavery of the 19th-century working class life. He is joined by his friends Nathan and Millie Hall, who along with O'Fea and his nephews, the Lomax brothers, head off to seek their fortune. At the diggings, tragedy strikes. Nathan is drowned in a massive flood on the Arrow River leaving Millie a widow. She is cared for by the camp and particularly by Joe Lawson who cuts her wood for the coming winter. But Millie's winter comes early when she is assaulted by O'Fea with only the Lomax brothers as witnesses. When Duncan strikes gold, his euphoria is short lived as a young miner, Dan Nolan, is murdered by the Lomax brothers after a card game. Duncan is accused of the crime, and after an absurd trial, he is sentenced to hang despite Sarah's desperate plea for clemency. After Duncan's death, a bond develops between Sarah and Millie. She tells Sarah of her ordeal with O'Fea and the Lomaxes. As the Lomax brothers sleep, a woman enters the cabin and shoots them both. O'Fea fights her and with some help from the "spirit of the times" O'Fea meets his end. Love has blossomed between Millie and Lawson, who decide to leave the goldfields together, as Sarah considers her past and looks to the future. Open staging. Approximate Running Time: 2 hours.
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